18 Coastal GasLink workers hospitalized in bus crash

A union says it warned project officials about the long, dangerous commute.

Crews move segments of pipe for the Coastal GasLink project. – TC Energy

Key Takeaways:

  • 18 workers were sent to the hospital after a bus transporting them to a Coastal GasLink work camp flipped over.
  • A union noted that its members, housekeepers for the Parsnip Lodge, were the ones injured. 30 members were aboard the bus.
  • The union added that its members had raised concerns earlier this year about the four-hour roundtrip commute to site after they were told they could no longer be housed at the camp.

The Whole Story:

A group of workers involved in the Coastal GasLink project north of Prince George B.C. were injured when a bus transporting them to site flipped over.

All those injured are reported to be in good to fair condition after being hospitalized.  

The Friday crash prompted University Hospital of Northern BC to issue a Code Orange. The code is typically reserved for natural disasters and mass casualty events and is implemented to allow staff to focus on triaging treatment. Additional staff and managers can also be brought in as needed. In total, the hospital received 18 patients. Later that day, all were considered to be in good to fair condition, stated hospital officials. 

“We would like to thank our dedicated physicians, nurses and staff at UHNBC for their calm and coordinated response, and the excellent care provided to the individuals involved in this incident,” said Northern Health officials. “Thanks as well to our partners at BC Emergency Health Services who dispatched seven ambulances and support crews, and cared for and transported 15 people to hospital. Finally, thanks to Prince George and area residents for your patience, understanding, and support for our local health care providers.”

Officials with UNITE HERE Local 40 stated that the crash highlights concerns they raised with project officials earlier this year. 30 members of the union were aboard a bus that flipped over while traveling from Prince George to the project’s camp. The crash injured 18 people on the bus. The affected workers are housekeepers at Coastal GasLink’s Parsnip Lodge, the large majority of whom are immigrant women.

The union stated that its members had raised concerns about having to bus up to four hours to and from site each day. 

“Our first concern is with our members and their families who have gone through a terrifying experience,” said Zailda Chan, president of UNITE HERE Local 40. “This never should have happened. Workers told management that this was not safe. We expect Horizon North to work with the Union to ensure workers’ health and safety is prioritized and not put at risk.” 

Earlier this year, the union filed a grievance against Horizon North, which manages the project’s lodge, after management unilaterally moved all the housekeepers out of the camp and began bussing them to and from the site. The union stated that these workers are expected to travel up to four hours each day to and from camp, and along a forest service road, because they are no longer provided housing at the camp.

The union is calling on management to house lodge workers onsite, as they are required to do in the collective agreement. The union and management are currently in arbitration, which is expected to conclude this week.

*Editors Note: Horizon North has not yet responded to a request for comment from SiteNews


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